Singapore’s Theatre, Dance And Film
Theatre: Local groups are extremely energetic in producing contemporary theatre with an Asian flavour. The usually hidden deep ethnic tensions in Singapore commonly underlie much of the drama and the struggle for freedom of expression is often very palpable. Some of the most prolific troupes include Action Theatre (tel: (65) 837 0842), Waterloo Street, who have put on a series of ten-minute plays at various venues; Singapore Repertory Theatre (tel: (65) 221 5585; website: www.singrep.com), Cecil Street, who showcase at the DBS Arts Centre, 6 Shenton Way; The Necessary Stage (tel: (65) 440 8115; website: www.necessary.org), Marine Parade Road, who, among other things, promote holism in schools; and TheatreWorks (tel: (65) 338 4077; website: www.theatreworks.org.sg), based at the Fort Canning Centre, Cox Terrace Fort, Canning Park.
Dance: Dance Dimension Project (tel: (65) 226 6772; website: www.ecnad.org), one of the youngest professional performing arts groups, has built a reputation for also being one of the most dynamic and daring. The company is based around the Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre in Cecil Street. Alternatively, the Singapore Dance Theatre (tel: (65) 338 0611), performs classical dance and ballet, and is based at the Fort Canning Centre.
Film: Cinemas cater purely to popular taste; however, while there are no art cinemas, the Alliance Française, Sarkies Road (tel: (65) 737 8422), occasionally screens mainstream and alternative French films, but only on Tuesdays. Mainstream films are highly popular and often sold out, although there is a backlash from those who deplore the censorship allowed through the Film Act of 1981, which bans obscene and pornographic films with a much tighter definition of these than in the West. NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) was set up in 1994 as an attempt to involve film-makers, critics, festival organisers etc in a drive for greater artistic freedom in Singapore’s film industry. And there are small results, such as a season of American short films held at the Guinness Theatre at The Substation, Armenian Street, in July 2001. There is also an annual Singapore International Film Festival in April, which features documentaries and films from around the globe.
Singapore’s main cinema complexes include Cineleisure Orchard, Grange Road (tel: (65) 235 1155); Lido 8 Cineplex, 350 Orchard Road (tel: (65) 732 4124); United Artists Singapore Bugis Junction (tel: (65) 337 9522) and Beach Road (tel: (65) 391 2550).